* Mexico factory PMI rises to 55.6, highest since June
* New orders rise at fastest pace in over 1-1/2 years
MEXICO CITY Dec 3 The pace of growth in
Mexico's manufacturing sector rose in November for the second
straight month in a sign the economy may hold up better than
expected into year-end, a survey showed on Monday.
The HSBC Mexico Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index
(PMI) rose to 55.6 in November, its highest since
June, from an upwardly revised 55.5 in October, after adjusting
for seasonal variation.
The rise in sentiment was lifted by the fastest growth in
new orders in more than 1-1/2 years. The reading above 50
indicated factory activity continued to expand.
"This suggests that manufacturing activity will maintain
healthy growth rates," said Sergio Martin, HSBC's chief
economist in Mexico.
Mexico's annual growth rate cooled to 3.3 percent in the
third quarter, but solid data near year-end suggest that Mexican
growth could come in stronger than expected as U.S. demand for
local exports shields Mexico from a wider global slowdown.
Martin said the factory survey, along with signs that the
services sector is stronger, pushed HSBC to revise up its
outlook for growth to 3.9 percent in 2012 from 3.6 percent.
The survey's component rating output rose to a five-month
high, while the sub-index for new orders climbed to the highest
since April 2011, when the survey began.
Mexico sends nearly 80 percent of its exports to the United
States and its factories operate in near lock-step with their
counterparts north of the border.
The HSBC survey also showed input prices, or the cost of
parts used in the manufacturing process, rose strongly, picking
up their pace from October. Factory managers noted higher prices
for raw materials prices such as steel, paper and sugar.
In a sign that the global slowdown is weighing, the pace of
job growth slowed to an eight-month low.
The PMI index, compiled by Markit, is composed of five
sub-indexes tracking changes in new orders, output, employment,
suppliers' delivery times and stocks of raw materials and